Pregnancy Concerns: Preterm Labour

Find out what causes preterm labor, how to tell if you're having it, and what will happen if you are.

Women who give birth before the 37th week of their pregnancy are said to have given a preterm birth. Preterm labour cannot be prevented and could happen to any woman. In fact, statistics show that 1 out of every 8 pregnant women will have a preterm pregnancy. However, only half of the women who experience preterm labour have any serious complications due to it.

Still, babies who are born preterm may not be completely developed and may need hospitalization for survival. "There are many reasons for premature delivery – factors as multiple pregnancy like twins, infants of diabetic mothers or infections." Shares Dr Irene Chan, Consultant Paediatrician at the iKids Paediatric Practice, Singapore. Women who have had preterm births earlier are also at a higher risk of giving another preterm birth.

In some cases, preterm labor may be stopped by resting and medications prescribed by an obstetrician. However, the birth is only delayed long enough to take the woman to the hospital. Women who have already had a previous preterm birth may be given doses of progesterone to prevent another preterm birth.